Thursday, 28 January 2016

POVs And Deaths

When a viewpoint character dies, three things can happen:

we follow the character into a hereafter (this can happen in fantasy);
the narrative ends abruptly, even in mid-sentence;
the omniscient narrator continues the narrative, however briefly.

Thus, when Chen dies:

"Impact. Nothing."
-SM Stirling, Drakon (New York, 2000), p. 372.

Chen feels the impact, then the narrator informs us that there was nothing.

When Gwendolyn Ingolfsson dies:

"A moment of white light. Nothing." (p. 391)

Gwen sees the white light, then the narrator informs us that there was nothing.

Harry Turtledove describes Anson MacDonald's last moment:

"The poison worked almost as fast as they'd promised. He nodded before everything faded. He'd even got the last word."
-Harry Turtledove, "The Last Word" IN SM Stirling, Ed., Drakas! (Riverdale, NY, 2000), pp. 249-293 AT p. 293.

MacDonald reflects that he got the last word before everything fades.

When Rugo, the last native on a colonized extrasolar planet, drowns:

"He wondered if his mother would come for him."
-Poul Anderson, "Terminal Quest" IN Anderson, Alight In The Void (New York, 1993), pp. 1-28 AT p. 28.

Then a concluding paragraph describes the river flowing:

"...down in the valley, where the homes of men are built." (ibid.)

Men have conquered the planet.

There must by many other moments of death in Anderson's works?

1 comment:

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

I thought of the death of Kossara Vymezal in Chapter XVII of A KNIGHT OF GHOSTS AND SHADOWS.